Program Highlight

Program Highlight

Fostering Entrepreneurship & Healthy Food Options in San Jose

AnewAmerica Community Corporation applauds the recent approval by the San Jose City Council of changes to the zoning ordinance that will promote local entrepreneurship and healthy food options. This represents a major win for local health and economic development advocates as well as for Fresh Cart mobile produce vendors and their ability to vend in neighborhoods.

Policy Updates

The approved changes support entrepreneurship, an increase in the availability of fresh and healthy foods in “food deserts” and “food swamps,” and economic and public health benefits for the entire community. The recently adopted changes to San Jose Zoning Ordinance Title 20 do the following:

  • Increase the number of hours a mobile cart vendor selling whole, uncut fruits and vegetables can vend on private property, with the permission of the landlord and without an administrative permit, from 2 to 8 hours.
  • Decrease the buffer between a Fresh Cart vendor and a lot or property used for residential purposes from 100 feet to 50 feet.
  • Allowance of Fresh Cart vendors on government property in addition to schools.

Additionally, we asked the Council to continue to explore ways to decrease the prohibitive cost of the administrative permit, which currently stands at $850.

These changes remove unnecessary barriers and bring both creative entrepreneurship and healthy options to San Jose neighborhoods. Independently operated mobile vendors such as Fresh Carts vendors operating within San Jose’s communities increase access to essential, nutritious foods for all residents. These new policies will indeed transform the health of local communities while encouraging small businesses, often operated by immigrants, to thrive and succeed. We thank our partners, including the Health Trust, Sacred Heart Community Services, and Fresh Cart vendors, as well as the San Jose City Council and Mayor Liccardo for their leadership in promoting the overall well-being of our communities in San Jose.

Tax program provides $157,158 in refunds to the community!

AnewAmerica prepared tax returns for the first time: Pictured above, volunteers with staff member extraordinaire Lily Vargas and Doug Jalen, Director of Finance, who spearheaded the effort.

With over 150 returns prepared, our 2015 VITA program was a great success! The average income of our tax clients was $17,620.97. Our tax clients received a combined total refund amount of $157,158.00.

Many thanks go to volunteers: Hannah Davidoff, Maritza Duenas, Dena Greenblum, Alec Lepe, Debbie Mayer, and Sonali Wani for helping us serve clients at our Berkeley, Oakland and San Jose locations!

This program was funded in part by United Way Bay Area and by the Economic Security grantmaking strategy of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. We thank our partners and volunteers for their invaluable support.

See you again at next year's tax program! 

Free Tax Assistance Available Now


Until April 15th, AnewAmerica will offer its free tax assistance program staffed with tax-certified volunteers.

Services are available in English and Spanish to anyone in the Bay Area who qualifies, including but not limited to AnewAmerica clients and alumni - so share with your friends and family!

We are offering tax assistance at our Berkeley, Oakland and San Jose locations. Limitations do apply. To find out if you qualify to receive free tax preparation assistance, please contact our offices:

Berkeley: Lily Vargas: (510) 540-7785 x307

Oakland: Erica Soto: (510) 532-5240

San Jose: Angie Owen: (408) 326-2669

For more information available in English and Español

Support for this project in Santa Clara County has been funded in part by the Economic Security grantmaking strategy of Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Every Day is #EarthDay at AnewAmerica.

Happy #EarthDay2015! More than ever, it's important for businesses to embrace sustainability. What's good for the environment is good for the community and good for business.

This #EarthDay, meet Elisabeth Cruz, owner of Benitez Produce, who operates a Good.To.Go. mobile produce cart in the San Jose area. Through her business, Elisabeth:

  • increases access to healthy, local, organic foods in her community
  • earns an income to support herself and her family
  • reduces her environmental footprint


Elisabeth Cruz, Good. To. Go. Vendor

Business name: Benitez Produce
Business type: Mobile produce cart
Business location: San Jose

Originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, Elisabeth moved to California in 2007. She worked in the janitorial and fast food sectors until 2013. In 2014, seeing an opportunity to improve her family's financial circumstances while improving the health of local communities, Elisabeth enrolled in The Health Trust's Good.To.Go. Fresh Cart program.

As a proud partner of this innovative program, AnewAmerica provides business fresh cart vendor training to vendors and community based organizations, while fellow program partner, Sacred Heart Community Service, provides client outreach and vendor business technical assistance.

A Quick Snapshot of Elisabeth's Journey

2014: Started her business, Benitez Produce
Completed Fresh Carts Vendor Training with AnewAmerica
Began receiving business technical assistance from Sacred Heart Community Services
Purchased a van for her business
Secured start-up business loan with assistance from AnewAmerica

2015: Setting new milestones for Benitez Produce
Further Increase Revenue
Expansion Mode: Looking to open a second location

Elisabeth's husband, José Luis Benitez, has supported her throughout her journey. She is also proud to own a business that allows her flexibility in providing childcare for her two young children.

AnewAmerica honors Elisabeth and all of the participants in this program for their hard-work and commitment! AnewAmerica also thanks The Health Trust and Sacred Heart Community Service for providing an innovative approach to improving health and increasing income, while minimizing the impact on the environment!

Find out where the closest fresh cart is located to you!


2013 Expo & Celebration a Huge Success!

Thank you for joining us in making our 2013 Microbusiness Expo a huge success!

Over 300 supporters of AnewAmerica gathered at the Kaiser Rooftop Garden for a beautiful evening under the Oakland stars last Thursday. Nearly 30 of our entrepreneurs showcased their goods and services in a lively microbusiness marketplace. Our food entrepreneurs served up their tasty ethnic cuisine and our talented designers produced a lively fashion show. Samba dancers and live music set the tone for our magical evening.

Thanks to our elected officials in attendance, including our Emcee, Oakland City Council Member Noel Gallo, Oakland City Council Member, Dan Kalb, Alameda County Supervisor, Keith Carson, and Robert Raburn, BART Board of Directors.

Check out Betty Bedregal, recipient of AnewAmerica's Emerging Entrepreneur Award, on NBC!


Special thanks to our silent drawing, auction and in-kind donors for your generous contributions! 

AMC Theatres
Aquarium of the Bay
Australian Tan
Avalon Jewelers
Bay Area Discovery Museum
Bay City Bike Rentals & Tours
Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Blackhawk Automotive Museum
Blue & Gold Fleet
Byington Vineyard
California Academy of Sciences
California Canoe & Kayak
California Shakespeare Theater
California’s Great America
City Sightseeing SF
Club One Fitness
Dashe Cellars
Fortino Winery
Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
Gilroy Gardens
Golf Land
Grand Lake Theatre
Home Depot
Jelly Belly
Joseph George Wines
K1 Speed
Lake Merritt Boating Center
Landmark Theater
Lotus Cleaning Service
Malibu Grand Prix
Mancini’s Sleepworld
Niles Canyon Railway
Oakland A’s
Oakland East Bay Symphony
Oakland Ice Center
Pacific Pinball Museum
Peju Winery
Planet Granite
Quality Body & Fender
Ride the Ducks SF
Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum
Robledo Family Winery
Rockin’ Jump
Rollin Ice at Silver Creek Sportsplex
San Francisco Ballet
San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Opera
San Jose Giants
San Jose Repertory
San Jose SaberCats
San Jose Sharks Ice
SF Bay Adventures
SF Experiences 
Southwest Airlines
The Bridges Golf Club
The Cheesecake Factory
The Hot Tubs of Berkeley
The Walt Disney Family Museum
The Winery SF
Touchstone Climbing & Fitness
Trader Joe’s
UC Botanical Garden
Urbano Cellars
VIE Winery
Winchester Mystery House
Winery Collective

And Thanks to our Sponsors!














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